Monday, September 29, 2008

This is where I realize I'm way behind.

I just discovered Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Holy cow, how have I missed this? I heard about it this summer but never got around to watching it until today.

Click here. You know you want to. Do it now.

I'm a sucker for a good fugue, and this thing is loaded. Plus Nate Fillion = Captain Hammer.

Awesome. 42 minutes of pure awesome.

Cleaning the Car (Alternate title: My terrible approach to relationships)

So Monday's my day off, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time today cleaning the outside of my car. It's ridiculous because I'm not a car person... it's just 4 wheels that gets me around, and I'll drive it until those wheels fall off.

But I really haven't taken good care of the car over the past few years. We haven't had a garage since we moved to Cincinnati, and so my car gets pretty beaten up on the outside. I've hand washed it a few times, and sent it through the Shell Wash when it needs it. Last year I even splurged on Mike's. But overall I've just let it be.

That thing was in really bad shape. So I spent today buffing the top layer of oxidized paint off, polishing it, re-waxing it, and then hitting the glass with Rain-X for a finishing touch (that stuff is magic). The car's in good shape, and should be for a while. Half a day of hard work and I'm back where I should have been.

But it would have been better not to get to this situation in the first place.

Here's the nasty realization I had tonight: I do this with relationships too. I let them go on autopilot until they're a mess, then go overboard until they're back up to speed. Then I ignore them again.

Why do I do that? And it's not just me... you do it too. But it's just so easy to be reactive.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Story of My Laptop

For the folks who have been asking about it. It’s long. Sorry.

Just over a month ago, I lost my work laptop. I went over to Mt. Adams to help Bethany move into her new place, and I had it on the passenger side. Jon Reeve rode with me, so we moved it to the back seat. We went in and out of Bethany’s place for an hour or so, and when I came back and drove home I discovered that the laptop was gone.

My entire brain was on that thing. Not just work stuff, either: Every paper I’d written for school, every personal letter, every to-do list was on that laptop. All my contacts, everything. I had half a dozen work projects in-process on it. When I lost it, I spent the better part of three workdays just trying to figure out what I should be doing.

I figured it had been stolen, but you never really know for sure. I was killing myself with “maybes.” Maybe I took it out and put it on the ground to make room for Jon, then forgot to put it back? Maybe I took it inside with me, and it got buried under the stuff we moved for Bethany? I had no idea. In desperation, I posted it to the lost+found page on Cincinnati Craigslist.

A couple of days later, I got a call from a trucker in Illinois. He called me up and told me he’d been driving through Cincinnati and bought a laptop on the side of the road, and after using it a while realized it had probably been stolen. He looked on Craigslist and saw I was missing it, so he called to get my info so he could mail it to me. All he wanted in return was that I send him the cost of shipping, plus the amount he paid to the kid (about $200). And he wanted it up front. Via Western Union. That day.

That raised some red flags, so my distrustful self kept insisting on more details, which he was unwilling to give. The conversation deteriorated from there, with me being convinced he was a scammer and him cussing me out for disrespecting him. Ugly. I just decided I’d have to live without my laptop, and move on.

Then, four weeks later, the church IT folks got a call from a woman who lives in Mount Adams. She found a laptop on the street “two weeks ago” and discovered that it said “Property of Vineyard Community Church.” So she looked up VCC in the phonebook, told them she had a laptop of theirs, read them the serial number to confirm, and dropped it off. No muss, no fuss. It was out of battery (the charger hadn’t been in the backpack) and one corner was busted, but that was it. All of the data was intact, and the broken corner was cosmetic only.

So I still haven’t figured out what happened. There’s a 2-week gap in there somewhere… did somebody steal it from my car, use it until the battery wore out, then put it back out in the street? Did they try to use it but weren’t able to get through the password? Maybe it wasn’t stolen at all… maybe it fell out of the car and the lady picked it up, and just held it for 4 weeks instead of 2. I have no idea.

All I know is I got my data back, and I’m thrilled. I’m feeling a lot more hopeful about the trustworthiness of people than I was after the scam. And I’m thankful to God for taking care of me in a weird situation.

So anyway, that’s the story.

Cross-posted on my blog and on Facebook.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Be Happy!

Too much gloom so far. This should help even things out.

Sick Kids = No Fun

Ok, so I don't have it nearly as bad as Sean. There's no vomit so far. Still, there's nothing quite like coming home from a death call to a frantic wife and a 103.8 degree baby.

Jenna's doing better today, which is good, although she's still not great. Fever's back under 100, and she's playing a bit. But she won't eat, won't sleep, and won't drink without lots of urging.

Sometimes it's hard to tell where the sickness starts and the stubbornness ends.

How Long, O Lord?

I get it.

It's a fallen world, and sin has broken the Paradise that God created. Disease and death rule. God is on the move, though, and the world is slowly being patched up piece by piece. This isn't the final state of affairs, and there's a backup plan (heaven) in the meantime. We'll see each other again beyond the veil, and we have a hope of eternity.

But none of that knowledge felt useful as I sat next to a guy (my age) who just lost his dad (my dad's age). Healthy as a horse. Thursday he started feeling under the weather. Saturday they figured he might need to visit a doctor. Before dawn on Monday he was gone. What do you say to that?

Sometimes the theologically correct answer doesn't feel helpful.

How long, O LORD, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, "Violence!"
but you do not save?

Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.

A clean slate

Starting over with a publicly-accessible blog.

For those wondering, the "MR" is my first two initials, not the abbreviation for "Mister." But it's conveniently ambiguous.